Short-handed Wrecker grapplers battle top teams
Updated 2:10 am, Friday, January 6, 2012
The Staples wrestling team posted mixed results against some of the top-ranked teams despite missing several grapplers because they were away for vacation week. Staples started off its regular season on a sour note with a 76-3 home loss to Danbury, the top-ranked team in the state in a coaches poll.
The Wreckers shook off the loss quickly and travelled to Fairfield Warde for a Dec. 29 quad-meet. Staples lost to sixth-ranked Warde, 64-9. Later that day, the Wreckers lost a close match to rival Darien, 45-31.
However, the day wasn't completely full of disappointment. The Wreckers garnered their first victory of the season against Bridgeport Central with a 40-24 verdict. Leading the charge for the Staples was senior captain Mikell Washington (220-pound weight class). Washington followed up on his championship victory in the Ludlowe Holiday Tournament Dec. 17 by going undefeated.
Also shining for Staples was junior Jeremy Sherman, who also went undefeated. Other top performers were freshman Justin Ludel, junior Alex Brown and junior Justin Kogstad, who all won two matches each.
The Wreckers ventured upstate one day later (last Friday) to Haddam-Killingworth for another quad meet. They lost to host Haddam-Killingworth, who is ranked 15th in the state, 57-14, and to Griswold, 57-18, before emerging victorious against Rocky Hill, 54-6.
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"The matches over break didn't go as we had hoped," Wreckers coach Kevin Lippert said. "Due to injuries and kids on vacation, we had to forfeit five to six matches in each meet. It's pretty difficult to win that way."
Staples suffered a catastrophic blow when senior captain Brad Menchaca suffered a broken ulna and radius in his right arm, ending his season. Menchaca had been one of the best wrestlers on the team, and was also a runner-up at the season-opening tournament. On a positive note, his injury allows Kogstad to wrestle in the more natural 138-pound weight class, and also gives senior Michael Silas the chance to wrestle at 152 pounds.
"Brad was an excellent wrestler, so even though we have people to fill in the weight class, we lost one of our team leaders," Lippert said.
Now back in school, the Wreckers lost a tough match at FCIAC conference rival Ridgefield Wednesday. They travel to Bunnell tomorrow to take on four squads in what's sure to be a competitive meet.
Despite the team's 2-6 record, Lippert isn't discouraged. He said, "Our guys are still getting comfortable on the early season. We haven't hit our stride yet. Guys are making adjustments and improving everyday in practice.